Caroline installs new Fire Police program
DENTON — Caroline County sworn in about 30 members of the county’s new Fire Police division at the Caroline County Courthouse Tuesday, June 13.
Fire Police, who operate under each of the county’s volunteer fire departments, with the authority of the Sheriff’s Office, will be conducting traffic control, special event details, assist with search and rescues and a variety of other public safety tasks. The Fire Police members sworn in represented all of the fire companies in Caroline County.
“Tonight is a very exciting milestone as we launch the Fire Police Program in Caroline County,” said Caroline County Sheriff Randy Bounds. “According to our records, from as far back as Oct, 30, 1993, when Patty Gordy wrote a letter on behalf of the Caroline County Fireman’s Association to the Caroline County Commissioners, Fire Police has been a vision of many throughout the County.”
Bounds commended Caroline County Department of Emergency Services Director Bryan Ebling and his team for the work they have put into the program over the years, calling the program win for the community.
“We started taking a real hard look at it again several years ago and realized that the section of the law allowing Fire Police in Caroline would not be adequate, allowing only three Fire Police members from each fire company,” he said. “Thanks to our County Commissioners, Chief of Staff Sara Visantainer, Delegates and Senator, we were added to another section of the law in the 2015 legislative session that was much more feasible for Caroline, allowing for 12 members per company.
“Since that time, thanks to the hard work and resolve of Chief J.T. Bartz from the Goldsboro Volunteer Fire Company and Capt. James Henning of the Caroline County Sheriff’s Office, details were meticulously hammered out to create a structure within which Fire Police could operate efficiently and effectively.
“The project evolved through great deal of logistical work by Director Bryan Ebling and Communications Chief Steve Hurlock at the Department of Emergency Services to ensure that adequate radio communications and procedures were put in place,” he said. “At that same time, the Caroline County Fire Chiefs Association endorsed policies and procedures to ensure a smooth and well-run organization across in-county jurisdictional boundaries.”
Joining Bounds and the Fire Police members at the ceremony were Caroline County Commissioners Dan Franklin, Larry Porter and Wilbur Levengood; Goldsboro Volunteer Fire Company Chief J.T. Bartz on behalf of the Caroline County Fire Chief’s Association; Caroline County Fireman’s Association President Matt Morean; Sen. Addie Eckart, R-37-Mid-Shore; Del. Jeff Ghrist, R-36; Del. Johnny Mautz, R-37B; and Caroline County State’s Attorney Joseph Riley.
Ebling said when the Fire Police concept was first brought forth in Caroline County, Ghrist was working as a college intern for the county, providing legislative research on the current laws and what would be necessary to include Caroline in the laws at the time.
“It is my belief the citizens of Caroline County will be well served by the Fire Police, and in particular the group that stands before us today,” he said. “Thank you for your service, and thank you to everyone that made today possible.”
About 30 firefighters get sworn in to Caroline County’s new Fire Police division at a June 13 ceremony at the Caroline County Courthouse.